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A Veep’s Struggle

• May 23, 2012 5:49 pm

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Recent polls show that Americans dislike Vice President Joe Biden. USA Today’s Paul Singer reports on a new USA Today/Gallup Poll:

In a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, Americans split on whether they like or dislike the vice president—42% said they had a favorable opinion, 45% said unfavorable—but the numbers are worse in key swing states.

In the 12 swing states likely to determine the outcome of the presidential election, only 40% of registered voters view Biden favorably, while 54% view him unfavorably. These numbers are worse than President Obama’s who is seen favorably by 50% of registered voters in those same states and unfavorably by 49%.

The Hill’s Jonathan Easley puts that poll in perspective:

Biden stands at 42 percent favorable versus 46 unfavorable. He has been hovering near break-even since late 2009. His popularity plunged towards the middle ground shortly after taking office, when he was at 53 favorable and 29 unfavorable.

Biden though is still overwhelmingly popular among Democrats, at 73 favorable, but well underwater with independents, at 37 favorable and 47 unfavorable.

A Quinnipiac poll revealed a negative view of Biden in key 2012 swing state Florida. In the Sunshine State, 36% of respondents held a favorable opinion of Biden, while 42% disliked him. The same poll found Florida residents supporting Romney, with a six-point lead over Obama. Marco Rubio, while viewed favorably, did not impact the Romney ticket much.

While Republicans have criticized Biden for his gaffes—some calling him Obama’s "chink in the armor"—"most political operatives agree that Biden will not be replaced as Obama’s running mate," Easley explains.

Commentary magazine’s Jonathan Tobin agrees.

The idea that President Obama is seriously considering dumping Joe Biden from the Democratic ticket this year is a seductive one. To assume that this is a real possibility, as William Kristol argues in the Weekly Standard, you must believe the president is not only sick and tired of Biden’s bloviating, but that he believes his re-election effort is in real peril. …

Obama’s own self-regard is such that he probably believes he is great enough to succeed even while lugging around the loquacious Biden on his back. That’s good news for the vice president as well as for Republicans who would have good reason to fear the power of an Obama-Clinton ticket. Although many Democrats would happily make the exchange, I think the odds of this happening are slim and none.